A group of young Ukrainian refugees have been gifted bicycles thanks to a generous scheme run by a Foróíge youth group in Raphoe.
The stolen or lost bicycles were recovered by An Garda Síochána in Donegal since October 2022.
Gardai then handed them over to the Foróíge group who did an amazing job in refurbishing them as a part of a project.
Earlier today, Garda Ted McCaffrey and Garda Ann Marie O’Farrell, Community Gardaí from the Lifford Sector, presented the bikes to teenagers from Ukraine living in the Lagoon in Termon.
Speaking about the initiative, Garda Mc Caffrey said the donation was a community engagement project instigated by the Youth Diversion Project in Raphoe.
He said “These bikes have been in possession of An Garda Síochána in excess of a year and it has not been possible to identify owners for them.
“Unclaimed property in possession of An Garda Síochána is disposed of after a year and a day. It is fantastic that we could donate these bikes to the Foróige project in Raphoe and the young people learned a valuable skill before donating them to Ukrainian families.”
Joleen Kuyper Machado, New Communities Manager with Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC), said: “The bike project is an amazing initiative and DLDC is very grateful to the young people in Raphoe for the time they have donated to refurbishing these bikes for Ukrainian families.
“Access to transport is a big issue for a lot of Ukrainians in Donegal and the use of these bikes will make it easier for young people who have fled the war in Ukraine to get to school, sports clubs, and meet their new school friends. These bikes will be a huge help.”
Nuala Plunkett, Youth Diversion Project Worker, Foróige, said they have been running the bike project in Raphoe for a few years with the help of John Grant from The Bike Mobile.
She added “Each year the young people involved choose where they donate the bikes they have refurbished. This year they were very keen to donate them to families from Ukraine. Many of the young people go to school with Ukrainian refugees and they were delighted to be able to make life a little easier from them since coming to Donegal.”